Safe the date: 28-29 September 2023

Sofia, Bulgaria

Innovation Areas


The Spinoff Bulgaria initiative was created by the Health and Life Sciences Cluster Bulgaria, the Artificial Intelligence Cluster Bulgaria and Venrize in collaboration and support of Invest Sofia Agency, and the Ministry of Education and Science (MON) and HaDEA.

We aim to create a sustainable spin-off ecosystem and culture in Bulgaria and Europe by connecting national stakeholders with international partners. We will present best practices, insights from universities, investors, governments, corporations and relevant industry experts, and funding opportunities from European organisations. 

AIM: To stimulate interest in spinoff creation, promote knowledge exchange and engage with government, business, academia and investors.

GOAL 2030: Bulgaria to produce 100 homegrown spinoffs and become a powerhouse of innovation in Europe.

Within the event, content is planned to encourage companies to enter into consortia and closer collaboration with universities and existing scientific infrastructure.

28 September 2023 - Day 1

10:00 - 10:30 Opening Keynote

Founders of the initiative: Kristina Eskenazi, Paulina Chortova, Kaloyan Ratchev, Dimitar Dimitrov 

Official Guest Speaker (Senior Government Stakeholders)

10:30 - 11:20 "Navigating EU Acts and Regulations for Spinoff Success" (AI Act, Chips Act, Data Health Act, NIS2)


11:20 - 11:40 Keynote: Federico Menna - Horizon Europe | "EIT Digital Initiatives" (TBC)

11:40 - 12:00  Coffee break

12:20 - 13:20 Pan European Innovative Ecosystems - European AI Forum 

Moderator: Kaloyan Ratchev, AI Cluster Bulgaria, Vangavis


13:20 - 14:00 Lunch break

14:00 - 14:40 "Leading the Charge: Spinoff Success Stories and the EU Champions Driving Innovation"

Moderator: Emil Shekerdzijski, Founder of Premium Coworking Spaces, Pitch2Pitch Events


14:40 - 15:20  "The Promise and Perils of Deep Tech: Ethical Considerations for Technological Progress"

Moderator: Monika Manolova, PhD - Digital National Alliance


15:20 - 16:00 -  European National Funds for Technology Transfer

16:00 - 16:20  Coffee break

16:20  - 16:40 "Protecting Innovation: The Role of Patents and IP in Spinoff Success" 

Keynote: Vladya Borisova - President of The Patent Office of the Republic of Bulgaria  (TBC)

16:40 - 17:20 Corporations for innovation

Moderator: Kristina Eskenazi - AI Cluster Bulgaria, Health & Life Sciences Cluster 


17:20 - 18:00  "Breaking Barriers: Women Driving Innovation and Spinoff Success in Deep Tech"

Moderator: Paulina Chortova, Women in DeepTech


18:00 - 18:30 Ceremony: The best Spinoff for 2022

18:30 - 19:00 CyberCLUB special edition

29 September 2023 - Day 2

09:00 – 09:30 Registration

09:30 - 10:00 Opening Keynote

10:00 - 12:40 HaDEA Key speaking
Moderator: Boyan Jekov, HE Bulgarian National Coordinator

10:10 - 10:35 Keynote speaker: Marina ZANCHI, HaDEA Director:
Introduction to HaDEA

10:35 – 11:20
Angelo MARINO, Head of Department A – Health and Food:
Presentation of HaDEA/A, Health and Food programs and Tips & Tricks for applying for EC funding

11:00 - 11:20  Q&A session

11:20 – 11:40 Coffee Break

11:40 - 12:40
Katleen ENGELBOSCH, Head of Department B - Digital, Industry and Space

Presentation of HaDEA/B, Programs on Digital, Industry and Space and Synergies

12:20 - 12:40 - Q&A session

12:40 - 14:00 Lunch break

14:00 - 14:20 EIT Manufacturing

14:20 - 15:00  Building successful EU-funded projects (Panel discussion)

Moderator: Kristina Eskenazi - AI Cluster Bulgaria, Health & Life Sciences Cluster 

15:00 - 15:40  Workshop: AI for research and spinoff organisations (from 0 to 1)


15:40 - 16:20  Testimonials – Showing European experiences in Health and Digital sectors

Moderator: Kristina Eskenazi - AI Cluster Bulgaria, Health & Life Sciences Cluster 


16:20 - 16:50 "Innovative Agrotech Solutions: Cultivating Sustainable Growth and Generating Spinoff Opportunities" 

16:50 - 17:30 "Building a Strong Foundation: Exploring the Intersection of Spinoff and Infrastructure" 

Moderator: Assoc. Professor Dimitar Nikolov - AI Cluster Bulgaria, TU Sofia


17:30 - Closing remarks

Exclusive workshops





Only projects that have successfully passed at least the second stage of technological readiness according to the internationally accepted scale for evaluating the maturity of a newly created technology (Technology Readiness Levels) will be evaluated, and work has begun on the third stage - proof of concept in the experimental environment.

Innovation Areas: Applicant need to propose activities in biotechnology, health, food tech, semiconductors/chips,  artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and VR&AR.

Evaluation criteria:

The expected results of the project need to be clear, measurable, realistic, bound to a specific period and be a logical consequence of the planned activities.

Apply HERE!

A spinoff is an entity, formed as a separate and independent enterprise from an existing organisation, which holds novel value and new strategic purpose. Spinoffs often come from academia, corporates, government and healthcare.

Spinoffs are the bedrock of economic growth and innovation. They create jobs, unlock private capital, stimulate R&D and adoption of innovation. One prominent example of a spinoff powerhouse is the UK, with 1,500 spinoffs in the last 10 years, which created 6000 jobs and £11b of capital raised.

Some prominent clusters such as Oxford, generated 200 spinoffs since 2011 which unlocked £2.4 billion of private capital. The famous ‘Golden Triangle’ produces over 100 spinoffs every year. Moreover, a spinoff on average has 50% higher valuation at seed stage than a non-spinoff company.

A Spinoff innovation can be created and developed via a number of different models. These models are applicable at different stages of the innovation cycle. They share similar purposes and characteristics but vary by strategy, execution and organisational context.


AI Cluster Bulgaria

Health & Life Sciences Cluster

Venrize Ltd.


Become a partner

General Partner

Amount: 5000 € 

Gold Partner

Amount: 2500 € 

Contact us for more information: 

Silver Parner

Amount: 1500 € 

Contact us for more information: 

Check out previous events of the Spinoff Initiative

Speakers in 2022

Kristina Eskenazi
Chairwoman of Health & Life Sciences Cluster, Founder of AI Cluster Bulgaria
Dimitar DimitrovChairman of Health & Life Sciences Cluster, AI Cluster Bulgaria, Founder of Venrize & Micar21
Kaloyan Ratchev
AI Cluster Bulgaria, Founder of Venrize Ltd and Vangavis
Boyko Takov
Executive Director Bulgarian SME Promotion Agency 
Hristo Etropolsky
Director Marketing and investment services at InvestBulgaria Agency 

Vesna Baltina

Deputy Mayor of the Burgas Municipality

Iva Marinova
Senior expert from the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency

Zoya Stoyanova
Senior expert Strategic planning, Digitalization & Sustainable development, Burgas Municipality

Dobrinka Blagova
Director, Digitalisation, Innovation & Investment Directorate (Innovative Sofia), Sofia Municipality

Viktor Goussev
Sofia Investment Agency

Dennis Weiss
Investment & Organisation Manager at Spinoff Austria

Prof. Nikolai Zhelev
CSO Venrize, Prof. - University Of Dundee

Ass. Professor
dr. Costin Lianu
General Manager USH Pro Business, Spiru Haret University

Antonio Giordano
president of SHRO

Dr. Tanja Sovic
Head of Patent & Licence Management, TU Vienna

Maria Todorova
Director for Policy and Analyses at the Ministry of Innovation and Growth

Ivailo Ivanov

Founder Institute

Stoyan Yordanov

Postdoctoral Researcher at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, BTI

Andreas Maier

Founder of Industry Association Digital Bulgaria

Ivan Mihaylov

Chairman of the Bulgarian Association of Innovative Technologies (BRAIT)

Prof. Dr.
Viktoria Sarafian
Medical University 

of Plovdiv

Assoc. prof. Svilen Kunev, PhD
Assistant professor - University of Ruse

Krasimir Tonchev
AI Cluster Bulgaria, Technical University Sofia

Georgi Georgiev
American University in Bulgaria

Juan R. Garcia, MBA
Managing Partner at the BBI Business School

Prof. DSc
George Todorov
Dean of the Faculty of Industrial Technology (FIT) - Technical University Sofia

Jeannette Gorzala
IP Law Austria

Prof. Dr. Vladia Borisova
President of the Patent Office of the Republic of Bulgaria

Fabian Lim
Senior Executive, Industry Partnerships & Commercialisation. Imperial College London

Neli Poprelkova
Law Firm
Tzvetkova & Partners

Kamen Slavov
Member of The Board of Directors of Fund of Funds in Bulgaria (FMFIB)

Vladimir Tomov
President of BCCI Investment Council, Member of the Board of BCCI

Alper Celen
Enhance Ventures

Angel Angelov
Managing Partner at Innovation Capital

Eva Maydell
MEP, European Parliament

Tsvetelina Penkova
MEP, European Parliament

Thomas Hellebrand
Health policy lead, DIGITALEUROPE

Albena Kuyumdzhieva
European Innovation Council EIC

Yumer Kodjayumer
Ministry of Education and Science

Daniela Tchonkova
EEN-Bulgaria Coordinator, Programme Manager at Applied Research and Communications Fund

Diane Nevin
CEO of GRIT (Grit International Female Accelerator)

Elena Nikolova
Community Manager of CEO Angels Club

Alexandra Velkova
Atlas Agro

Maya Milanova
Managing Director at Flow Logic

Assoc. Prof. PhD Agata Manolova
Technical University of Sofia

Rumyana Grozeva
European Digital Innovation Hub Zagore

Mariana Hamanova
Director of 

CleanTech Bulgaria

Svetlana Boyanova
Director of AgroHub

Svetlin Iliev
Director of Trakia Digital Innovation Hub

Todor Mladenov
Executive Director at Sofia Tech Park JSC

Prof. Ilia Iliev
Director Centre of Technologies Plovdiv University, PERIMED

Evgeni Ivanov
Head of Technology Transfer Center QUASAR

Prof. Sotir Sotirov PhD
Prof. Assen Zlatarov University

Denitsa Tsekova
Chairman of the Managing Board of IIRDE 

Teodora Jilkova
Consulting Cluster Veritas, International Relations & Business Development

Prof. George Angelov
Chair of Cluster of Microelectronics, Technical University Sofia

Petko Georgiev
Chairman of Southeast Digital Innovation Hub

Assoc. prof. Dimitar Nikolov
Technical University Sofia

Clemens Wasner
ADRA, Member of European AI Forum

Andy Bleaden
Communities  Director ECHAlliance

Montse Daban
Vice President of CEBR, Biocat, BioRegion of Catalonia, INNAXE

Maria Pournari
Institute of Entrepreneurship Development (iED, Larissa)

Benjamin Talin
MoreThanDigital International

Daniel Cosnita
President of the Romanian Cluster Association, Co-chairs of EEN Thematic Group on Clusters

Emil Shekerdzhiiski


Networking Premium Spaces 

Husein Yemendzhiev


Dimitar Mitev